Thursday, June 20, 2013

Salted Caramel Coconut-Oat Bars

I'm typing on a new computer. No more Dell PC for me, mama got a shiny new MacBook Pro.  With Retina Display, I might add.  

Because what's just a thousand dollars more on a computer purchase, right? I mean 5 million pixels, people.  5 MILLION!

Anyway, I've had it for a few weeks now, but it's been, um, challenging to get to the point I can actually use it with some efficiency.  Not a ton of efficiency, mind you, just some.  Some is getting me by for now.  

And besides trying to get my new computer up and running, June has been spent in a crazy rush to finish a building project out at our barn.  We, and I am using the term "we" very, very loosely, are building a tool room.  Okay, my husband is.  My job is to make sure he has plenty of water to drink so he doesn't pass out in the heat.  

And  sometimes, I make treats for him.  Like these bars.  They help him keep his strength up when his wife is cracking her let's-get-'er-done-before-we-go-on-vacation whip.

I really, really loved these bars because I am a fan of revel style bars and these are similar to those, only with salted caramel.  

Here are my notes:

--Don't over bake them.  That caramel can get tough and hard.

--I trimmed the edges with a sharp knife before cutting into squares.  Again, the caramel hardens as it cools and it can be a little tough to chew, especially around the edges.

--These are good bars to pack for a picnic because they travel well and hold their shape.

PS.  I'll be competing in Los Angeles at the Dole Cook-Off event at the end of the month and it's open to the public.  Stop by and say hi if you live in the area.

Salted Caramel Coconut-Oat Bars

Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 cup quick oats
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
1 (11-ounce) bag caramel melting bits 
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 325. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper, then spray with nonstick cooking spray. 

Beat together 1 1/2 cups butter, the sugar, and the vanilla until mixed.  Mix in flour until a soft, crumbly dough forms. Stir in the oats and coconut.  Set 2 1/2 cups of the crumbly dough aside and press the remaining dough into the pan. Bake for 15 minutes. 

When base comes out of oven, place the caramel bits, heavy cream, and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan and heat over low heat until melted, stirring often.  Stir in the salt.  Immediately drizzle evenly over crust.  Crumble remaining dough evenly over top.  Return to the oven and bake until filling is bubbly and the topping is just firm and light golden brown, about 25 - 30 minutes. Do not over bake.  Let cool completely before transferring to a cutting board and cutting into squares. 

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Star Spangled Berry Pie


*Blogger pats self on back*

I know.  I have blogged this pie before.  Here.  But I just feel like it needed to be reblogged.  And renamed.  Because it is soooo summery, festive, and patriotic. 

I recently made it again and fell in love all over.  Which is saying a lot because I am not the biggest fan of fruit pies.

Serve it with ice cream.  Or whipped cream.  Or leave it plain.  It is not too sweet and the sugar can be adjusted.  Go to the original post for some more notes, but it's pretty straightforward.

Star Spangled Berry Pie

2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
The zest of one medium orange
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1 unbaked pie crust plus enough pie crust scraps to make decorative cutouts for top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Stir together the blueberries, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and orange zest in a large bowl.  Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie crust.  Cut butter into small pieces and dot the top of the fruit. 

Roll out the remaining pie crust scraps and cut shapes using cookie cutters dipped in flour.  (I used different sized star shaped cutters.)  Place the shapes on top of the pie in a decorative pattern.

Beat together the egg and water.  Lightly brush the mixture onto the pie crust shapes and around the perimeter of the crust.  Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 50-55 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  Let cool on wire rack completely before cutting.

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